We are approximately 1,600 miles southeast of Long Beach, California. We are in, and around, many mountains approximately 5,200 feet above sea level (similar to Denver and at a similar latitude to Hawaii which explains our weather). The single major attraction of the Lake Chapala area is undoubtedly its semi-tropical climate, rated among the finest in the world. The ameliorating effect of the lake helps ensure that temperatures remain pleasantly warm all year round, with an annual average temperature of 67.8 degrees. This figure masks seasonal changes ranging from average lows of 53.6 degrees in December-January-February to average highs of 84.5 degrees in May-June, immediately before the onset of the rainy season. The rainy season, usually stretching from early June through late September, brings slightly cooler daytime temperatures. Within days, the hillsides turn green with the new growth of luxuriant vegetation. Average annual rainfall totals around 34 inches. The wettest month is July.
Lake Chapala is about 50 miles long from east to west with a maximum north-south width of about 12.5 miles. Its large surface area (405 square miles) makes it the largest natural lake in Mexico, and the third largest in Latin America, after Lake Titicaca in the Andes and Lake Nicaragua in Central America. Despite its size, Lake Chapala is quite shallow, with an average depth of only slightly over 13 feet and a maximum depth of less than 97.5 feet.
The Lake Chapala area observes Daylight Savings Time, on the same schedule as the U.S. and Canada. Electrical current in Mexico is 110 volts, 60 cycles, the same as in the United States and Canada....but the cobblestone streets, adobe walls and red clay tile roofs keep you remembering you are in Mexico!
Current estimates indicate there are now some 20,000 residents in Chapala alone, 15,000 in Ajijic, 3,000 in San Juan Cosala, and 16,000 in Jocotepec, which would bring the entire north shore population to approximately 60,000. Records at the United States Consulate General in Guadalajara show more than 40,000 U.S. citizens registered as residents of its consular district that includes the states of Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit. Unofficial estimates put the number of U.S. citizens residing full or part-time in the Lake Chapala area at about 6,000 and an equivalent figure for Canadian citizens. The numbers peak during the December-April high season when thousands of “snowbirds” migrate from points north to enjoy the area’s temperate climate. The foreign populations, including natives of Great Britain and a variety of European nations, has been increasing steadily over the past decade.